25 Jul Three things that set Woodstock apart
A new school year and the Woodstock campus buzzes with energy and life! Drawn from all across India and around the world, young people of diverse creeds, cultures, languages and backgrounds have come here to live and learn together. With over 100 new students this year and many nationalities represented for the first time, our vision of a global educational community committed to learning, mutual understanding, personal transformation and peace comes alive!
A Woodstock education celebrates development across a wide range of accomplishments – including the spiritual, academic, moral, aesthetic, emotional, social and physical.
For newcomers, this first week has been a tsunami of experiences with a deluge of information to absorb. It takes courage to join a new school and time to settle in. But this is a gentle place where those who are new soon feel the unique magic of this welcoming and happy community. Friendships here cross the divisions which still prevail in the world and become the foundations of a distinctive global mindedness – one of the most precious gifts a Woodstock education confers on young people.
Our philosophy sees value in allowing young people to fail... in helping them to take charge of their own lives, in taking risks... and in seeing benefit in working through experiences of struggle or hardship.
A few days ago, I had the privilege of meeting many new parents who joined us for the New Student Orientation. I shared three things about Woodstock which may be different from other schools our students have attended:
Nothing we do is haphazard
Everything we do is based on a carefully thought out educational philosophy known as Eliciting Greatness. In every question or challenge we face, we ask ourselves, “Is this response consistent with our vision and underlying principles?” Our philosophy sees value in allowing young people to fail (and to support them in trying again), in helping them to take charge of their own lives, in taking risks (with a supportive adult presence where necessary) and in seeing benefit in working through experiences of struggle or hardship. This philosophy inspires all that we do and has been a transforming influence in many young lives over the years.
There are more classrooms here than you can see!
Our curriculum is not limited to the academic study of subjects. We see academics, residential life and the many enrichment opportunities we offer as equally influential in the development of our students. We can never predict from which of these a young person may be inspired to find their ‘grand passion’ in life. As a result, our students do well and they aim high. We believe in pushing students academically – but we do not believe in ‘force-feeding’ them. This is not to say we are happy when a student gets a B grade if they were predicted an A! What we are saying is that rather than focusing only on the relentless pursuit of grades, we are happy if students spend time exploring a wide range of interests inside and outside the classroom, engaging fully in the many opportunities we offer – even if that means not getting the highest possible set of grades. We believe this broad focus is crucial for genuine, rounded success in life.
We see the whole and not only the part
A Woodstock education celebrates development across a wide range of accomplishments – including the spiritual, academic, moral, aesthetic, emotional, social and physical. For instance, the 20 minute walk to school each morning up a relentlessly steep path is part of a Woodstock education! So too is the chance for relaxed conversations over meals, opportunities to engage with our neighbouring rural communities and experiences of challenge in this glorious mountain environment.
Alongside a superb academic preparation, this holistic vision of education nurtures young men and women of character, resilient global citizens with a global perspective and an abiding respect for cultural pluralism, the ability to ask questions and not to take the world as they find it, agents of change with a capacity for independent thinking and the ability to collaborate with others. Above all, young people who have discovered what it is to be truly and intensely alive and who know how to find true happiness through meaningful lives lived with purpose and passion.
Dr Jonathan Long, Principal, Woodstock School